Dutch-born Esther Nienhuis regards the desire to be elsewhere as the essential characteristic of her work. Her paintings pivot on the moment at which Fernweh (desire for unknown) and Heimweh (desire for known) become inseparable. She seeks to expose the symbolic thresholds that distinguish the here and now from alternative realities and times — past, future and imaginary. Dwelling upon perspective through rain-covered or sun-lit windscreens, using oil on linen with almost photographic intensity, the otherwise imperceptible glass frontier comes into sudden focus. And yet, what lies beyond the windscreen remains abstracted, Nienhuis’ brushstrokes driven by a nostalgic longing for a terminal absence. The second solo show of her work in New York, The Love That Remains continues to reflect upon the frailty of physical and emotional perception, but yearns to move beyond the state of melancholy that characterized her earlier Saudade series, closer to understanding and clarity.
Nienhuis studied Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and has exhibited in Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia and Australia. She was awarded with the Dutch art prize Gasunie Kunstprijs in 2011 and in 2012 two of her works were selected for the ZomerExpo at the Gemeentenmuseum in The Hague, the Dutch equivalent to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.